Saints pull cord on Peterson but receive value in trade
Call it a move worth making.
The fact is that is was no risk for the New Orleans Saints to sign Adrian Peterson, who had no better options. The fact is that it occurred prior to the draft and the trading up to get Alvin Kamara.
The fact is that Peterson just did not fit in New Orleans.
The fact that the Saints invested $3.5 million in Peterson in an incentive-laden deal is not a big deal. The fact that the Saints parlayed Peterson into a draft pick is a positive, perhaps a win. No one likes wasting money and Tom Benson cannot be pleased overall but at least the Saints severed the tie quickly.
Remember the likes of Jairus Byrd, Brandon Browner, C.J. Spiller and Champ Bailey? Timing is everything, right?
There is no debating the fact that Peterson is one of the best running backs in recent NFL history. Whether he still has game is debatable.
Perhaps we will find out now that he is a member of the Arizona Cardinals, who were in need of a running back after the loss of David Johnson to a fractured wrist.
What we know is that with the Saints, Peterson was a non-factor, a square peg in a round hole. He was never going to be counted on to pass protect. He was never going to be used as a receiver out of the backfield. It was all about running the football for Peterson, a volume runner who needs carries and plenty of them to succeed.
That would also describe the talent of Mark Ingram, who excels when given more carries, is younger, fresher, a better receiver and better pass protector than Peterson at this stage of the game.
When Ingram and Kamara are in the game, good things happen more often than not. Plays are made, not just by the pair but by others who have opportunities created by the mere threat of having Ingram or Kamara on the field.
Peterson rushed 27 times for 81 yards, a modest 3.0 yards per carry. He needs just 485 yards to crack the top 10 rushers in NFL history. He is three touchdowns short of being only the ninth player in NFL history to rush for 100 touchdowns.
New Orleans will receive a conditional sixth-round draft choice in return.
It is a good move for both parties.
The Saints really had no role, no use for Peterson. Despite denying that he was not upset with Sean Payton, Peterson noted that he did not sign up to be a bit player. He could have and perhaps was becoming a distraction. Clearly, he was expecting more. Clearly, the Saints expected more from him but just didn’t see it. Clearly, the acquisition of Kamara and his rapid development made Peterson expendable.
Here is wishing Peterson nothing but the best moving forward. It is always tough to watch Hall of Fame players near the end of their careers, playing nowhere near at the level that fans are accustomed to seeing from them.
Peterson looked strange in black and gold. Those few who invested in No. 28 jerseys with Peterson emblazoned on the back now have a nice souvenir, a collector’s item.
Joe Namath ended his career in a Rams uniform. Joe Montana did to as a Chief. LaDanian Tomlinson put the lid on his career as a Jet. Rickey Jackson did so as a 49er. Peyton Manning was a Bronco. Eric Dickerson faded away as a Falcon. Jerry Rice called it quits as a Seahawk. Terrell Owens finished as a Bengal. Randy Moss was a 49er. Warren Moon went off into the sunset as a Chief. Those are just 10 examples of some of the very best who ended their careers in odd colors.
The plight of Peterson reminded me of the plight of Earl Campbell. One of the best runners in NFL history, Campbell came to the Saints and finished his career here in 1984 and 1985, scoring just one touchdown in 24 games, a shell of the player he once was in Houston.
Regardless of what happens with Peterson in Arizona, he will always be remembered as a Viking.
Time waits for no one. The shelf life of a running back is perhaps the shortest of any position in the NFL. That Peterson is in his 11th year speaks volumes about his work ethic and desire to compete. In all aspects of life, the cycle of out with the old and in with the new is applicable. Peterson is simply the latest example of this truth.
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…